This column is the result of some major investigative reporting.
I asked people at social gatherings, mostly people I knew, to tell me the one alcoholic drink they would never have again, ever.
Everybody who ever imbibed had a story. Some had a few no-no drinks. A few people also had some drinking jokes. My research was exhaustive. First, the no-no drinks.
Old Grand-Dad, a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey that’s been around since 1840. This whiskey was described by one reviewer as, “Not for the faint of heart.”
A middle-aged woman told me, “I got into a bottle of Old Grand-Dad when I was 14 years old. I threw up for days. Now, 30 years later, I can’t even smell whiskey without getting nauseated.”
A woman, whose no-no drink is called the “Widow Maker,” survived a night of drinking that thing and she listed the ingredients for us these many years later — vodka, Kahlua, Jägermeister and syrup.
No wonder it didn’t go well for her and she’s not forgotten it.
An old male friend answered immediately when I asked about his never-again drink.
“Grappa, and if you don’t believe me, just try drinking it to excess.”
I reminded him that Italians believe grappa aids digestion, often served in small glasses after a meal. It’s supposed to sooth the savage tummy. Then I reminded him that grappa is made of pomace, which is what they get after distilling the skins, seeds, stems and maybe other bits leftover from making wine.
I learned from other sources that grappa makers and lovers work hard to protect the reputation of the product. Real grappa must by made in Italy or in the Italian area of Switzerland.
Grappa gurus also say some Italians add grappa to espresso. The result is a “caffè corretto,” which in English means “corrected coffee.” I think my friend must have corrected his coffee way too much.
Other grappa enthusiasts allegedly drink milk between glasses of grappa at elaborate tasting events. A guy I know in St. Louis who drinks milk with scotch on the rocks, but he has other issues.
Grappa guzzlers say the milk restores the taste buds. My friend was tempted to blame the milk for his head-busting hangover, but I told him I'd never heard before that “blame the non-booze ingredients in cocktails” for the deferred pain complaint.
After these three columns about no-no drinks, I learned that people can laugh at their past booze miseries and most of them have stuck to their resolve to never drink THAT drink again.
Also important: They may hate the booze but love alcohol-based humor. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Two drunks are walking along. One says, “What a beautiful night, look at the moon.”
The other drunk says, “That’s not the moon, that’s the sun.”
As they argued another drunk walked by and they asked him to settle the dispute.
“Is that the shiny thing the sun or the moon?” The third drunk looked up and said, “Sorry, I don’t live around here.”
One more: Two drunks were walking along the railroad tracks. One of them says, “Man, all these steps are killing me!” The other drunk replies, “It’s not all these steps; it’s these darned low handrails!”